Hughes is next batsman in line for Oz: Clarke

Sydney: Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke has told Philip Hughes to stay patient as he fights to regain his opening spot in the national Test team.

Clarke said that Hughes is a player of the future, who is going to get his opportunity probably sooner rather than later.

“If you can open the batting in Test cricket you can bat anywhere in the order, that’s the hardest job in the game being a Test opening batsman. I think he (Hughes) can bat anywhere, as there’s probably four or five guys in domestic cricket scoring a lot of runs who are fighting for that as well,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Clarke, as saying.

“He is still the next batsman in line in my opinion. I think he’s certainly improved his fitness and his fielding, he’s been working his backside off when he’s been on the Australian tours.”

“No doubt he’s got a lot of talent and he’s going to play a lot of international cricket for Australia, it’s just about biding his time and making sure he’s doing everything in his power,” he added.

After consistently making runs at domestic level, Hughes was called up to replace Matthew Hayden on Australia’s tour of South Africa in February and March 2009.

In seven Tests, the 21-year-old has scored 615 runs at an average of 51.25.

During the 2009 Ashes campaign, Hughes’ technique was exploited by fast bowlers, who targeted his upper body, and avoided bowling wide outside off stump, restricting his opportunities to play shots through the offside, most notably the cut shot.

He was dropped from the team, for the third Edgbaston Test in favour of Shane Watson, who opened the batting in his place and provided the Australians with an extra bowling option.

He has since been the first choice of cover batsman for the Australians.